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Thread: Quilting Fabrics

  1. #1
    Senior Member littlesurfer's Avatar
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    I would like to know what kind of fabric everyone uses for quilting projects. I'm learning how to quilt and wonder if different types of fabric is okay to use, i.e., poly/cotton blends. I know 100% cotton is the number one choice. Our local Walmart is having what they call a "fabric-a-rama" sale. 5 yards of fabric for $5...you must buy the entire 5-yard bolt. A lot of this fabric seems to be a poly/cotton blend. $1.00 a yard is hard to pass up.

  2. #2
    Super Member GrammaNan's Avatar
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    I have most success using 100% cotton fabrics however I have seen every fabric imaginable used in quilting. Back in the 70's my DMIL made quilts out of 100% polyester. Crazy quilts can be a mixture of any fabrics. The key is to prewash the fabrics before you cut them so that they won't shrink unevenly after they are quilted. If you don't plan on using the quilt and washing isn't going to be an issue, you don't have to worry about it. You will receive many more posts about this from people who know a lot more than I do so I am going to follow the post as well.

  3. #3
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    I don't like working with blends. I find 100% cotton the easiest to work with and they behave themselves and I don't have to worry when I take a really hot iron to them for pressing. Also 100% cotton is more forgiving. If a block is slightly small you can block it and spritz it with water and when it dries it will be the full size I need, I don't think a blend will do that but don't know for sure. I learned early on to only use 100% cotton. It is what I like working with so if it ain't broke don't fix it is my motto.

  4. #4
    Super Member franie's Avatar
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    No blends for me. They are not forgiving like cotton.

  5. #5
    Super Member Maride's Avatar
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    I'll use anything I can put my hands on. If I am making a quilt that will be used and washed often, 100% cotton is the way to go, but if the quilt is for decoration purposes only, other fabrics may be appropriate too. Trapunto looks great in silk.

  6. #6
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    congratulations on getting into quilting - it's a fun, productive and rewarding skill.
    You can quilt with any fabric you want to use. The type of fabric, however, can and will make a difference in the feel of the quilt, how long it will last, etc. 100% cotton is probably the most traditional fabric, but that would be because years ago there was no polyester...For any quilt to be actually used (vs. hung on a wall) I want to make sure that it will wash and won't ravel (since traditionally quilters sew with a quarter inch seam). For my quilts, I also want all the fabric to be consistent - for example, I won't use drapery weight material in the same quilt as a lighterweight cotton.
    I personally try to use only 100% cotton with a soft hand, or feel, and with enough weight to it that I cannot see thru it. I like both the feel and durability of it. I also purchase most of my fabric at a local quilt shop rather than Walmart because I can consistently find my choice of fabric there. Walmart, Joanns, etc., can have quilting fabric that I like, but I have to spend more time looking for it.
    I encourage you to take a "feeling" trip and check out different types of fabrics at different shops so you can understand the differences... Then you can better decide what you want to use.
    What fabric you use is a personal choice and I'm sure you'll have fun figuring out your style. If nothing else, get a small amount of different fabrics and make placemats or something small that you can use so you don't waste a lot of material.

  7. #7
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    I personally don't like poly cottons to work with in a quilt. They tend not to hold a good crease and make keeping your seams nice and flat a pain.

  8. #8
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    I believe in doing what you feel comfortable with. I would recommend you use the same type of fabric for each quilt. I did a quilt for someone who purchased her own fabrics. Never Never again. Did I say Never again? It actually turned out quite pretty, but I had to surge all of the seams. There were 4 types of fabric. Not fun!

    Personally, I use 100% cottton.

  9. #9
    Power Poster cjomomma's Avatar
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    I will use poly/cotton. Just make sure it is tightly woven fabric and you can't see thru it. If not then $1.00 is not worth the hassle. I think I am gonna run to my local WM and see if they are doing the same thing.

  10. #10
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board from Southern California!!!
    I prefer to use 100% cotton fabrics
    I have learned to feel and look at a fabric to see if it is a good quality fabric. Just be careful with some of the cheaper fabrics, they will be harder to work with and they may fade or breakdown faster than higher quality.

  11. #11

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    I have been in the process of making quilts from shirts, etc., from close neighbors that passed away (as memory quilts for some of the family). Naturally, a lot of them are poly blends. Some of them "take a crease," some not so much. I think that I would try some of it and see how it handles when you iron it and give a good tug on the seams. They may be perfectly good for the everyday drag-around quilts or they may be just total frustration. In any event, sure would quilt them with poly batting. With the shirt fabrics I have been using, I increased the seam allowance to 1/2" because of a fear of fraying, but so far, so good.

  12. #12
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Welcome to the world of quilting and to the board.

    I, too, use mainly 100% cotton, but also toss other natural fiber textiles into the mix at times. Wool, silk, and linen all have a place in my stash along with the cottons.

  13. #13
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    Since you are new to quilting...the WalMart polyblends are fine especially since they are not as costly as the 100% cotton fabric. I use anything and everything that feels good! In the olden days...anything was used so why should we be so picky! I must admit, however that I love the look and feel of batiks and 100% cotton!!!

  14. #14
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    I very seldom use poly cotton. If I do it is an utility quilt or I must have sentimental attachment to the fabric. I would not buy poly cotton. I use almost all brand name 100% cotton and will not even mix in lower quality cottons for fear of different wear or bleeding.

  15. #15
    Senior Member AnnieF's Avatar
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    In the 1980s when finding 100% cotton was not as easy as now, I made a bed quilt for my son using some cotton and some polyester/cotton blends. He loved that quilt and 10 years later took it to college....boy dorm life is hard living for a quilt....they live on their beds, eat on them...etc. The point is that 4 years later, he came back with a quilt he wanted me to "fix". Batting was sticking out from 30 or 40 different places on the quilt. When I took a closer look, the places where the quilt disintegrated were all the poly/cotton fabrics. I couldn't salvage the quilt (I made him a replacement) but did immediately banish all of the poly/cotton fabric from my stash.

  16. #16
    Super Member pab58's Avatar
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    Welcome from southeastern Michigan! Glad you joined us!! :wink:

    I use 100% cotton, but I have a quilt that my grandmother that is constructed from 100% polyester double-knit!!!!!!! Boy, that puppy is pretty weighty!!! She used squares from scraps left over from dresses and pant suits (remember those??!!) that my aunt had made her. I love my grandma's quilt, and put it on my bed every winter. :wink: It was a great way to use up double-knit scraps I guess. I think I'll stick with my 100% cotton thank you very much!! :lol:

  17. #17
    Gal
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    I have used poly/cotton blends 50/50 and I hand quilted with no problem. I also have a poly cotton machine quilted bed cover with polyester batting,(shop bought)which is 20 years old, although well worn as you can well imagine, (it is now used as a dog blanket) it has stood up well to the test of time! I used Poly thread for poly fabrics and cotton thread for cotton fabrics. Having said all that 100% cotton are my favourites though for hand quilting. I guess what I am saying is when you are learning do try out and experiment with what feels right for you and what your budget can afford.

    Gal

  18. #18
    Senior Member rhueluna's Avatar
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    Walmart $5 for 5 yards is OK to learn with and practice. But if you are going to make an heirloom or work of art, you should get 100% good quality fabric. It costs more, but its worth it if you do a lot of hard work on it. Cheap fabric will wear faster. Poly blends are awful. I made that mistake. It stains and holds the stains, wears thin and after you cut it out, it seems to end up smaller than the 100% cotton. If you use some of each in the same quilt, you end up having a hard time matching the seams. If you use all one type fabric, it works out better. I will only use 100% good cotton now as I make quilts as keepers. If its just to throw around on the grass for a picnic, it doesn't matter what you use. I hope this helps.

  19. #19
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhueluna
    Walmart $5 for 5 yards is OK to learn with and practice. But if you are going to make an heirloom or work of art, you should get 100% good quality fabric. It costs more, but its worth it if you do a lot of hard work on it. Cheap fabric will wear faster. Poly blends are awful. I made that mistake. It stains and holds the stains, wears thin and after you cut it out, it seems to end up smaller than the 100% cotton. If you use some of each in the same quilt, you end up having a hard time matching the seams. If you use all one type fabric, it works out better. I will only use 100% good cotton now as I make quilts as keepers. If its just to throw around on the grass for a picnic, it doesn't matter what you use. I hope this helps.

    I've heard a lot of people say that cheap fabric is okay to start with. Actually cheap fabric is harder to work with than good quality fabric. Just because a fabric is good quality doesn't mean you have to pay full price though!

  20. #20
    Senior Member rhueluna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen
    Quote Originally Posted by rhueluna
    Walmart $5 for 5 yards is OK to learn with and practice. But if you are going to make an heirloom or work of art, you should get 100% good quality fabric. It costs more, but its worth it if you do a lot of hard work on it. Cheap fabric will wear faster. Poly blends are awful. I made that mistake. It stains and holds the stains, wears thin and after you cut it out, it seems to end up smaller than the 100% cotton. If you use some of each in the same quilt, you end up having a hard time matching the seams. If you use all one type fabric, it works out better. I will only use 100% good cotton now as I make quilts as keepers. If its just to throw around on the grass for a picnic, it doesn't matter what you use. I hope this helps.

    I've heard a lot of people say that cheap fabric is okay to start with. Actually cheap fabric is harder to work with than good quality fabric. Just because a fabric is good quality doesn't mean you have to pay full price though!
    Thats very true. You can go online and find close outs for a decent price. i just hate to see anyone go to all that hard work and trouble with poly blends. But whatever works for ya.

  21. #21
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    I've used all weights and fiber contents and have found that any and all of them will work. Some (especially the slippery ones like satin) require a bit more care in cutting and being sure your seams are wide enough not to fray. Others just 'feel' better and are easier to work with. Some wrinkle badly when prewashing, others do not. And it isn't necessarily a sign of the quality of the fabric how much or little it wrinkles.

    Just keep having fun playing with the fabric and you will determine what works best for you.

  22. #22
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    I use poly-cotton with 100% cotton in the same quilt if it has the look I want
    Go by feel; if it feels okay buy it - good price to pass up.

  23. #23
    Super Member C.Cal Quilt Girl's Avatar
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    5 for 5.00 is a great price and 2 colors will be enough to make a top and then some !!! That way your not out much, if things don't work well.....I encourage everyone to give Quilting a try, no way were my first ones great, finished and well used yep !!! Can make seams larger than 1/4 may be easier to see consistant size seams that way, and use a simple pattern. Best of Luck, Welcome from Central California :)

    P.S... don't press on high may melt the fabric, I was reminded of this not long ago... but tops done & quilted just need the binding :) :oops:

  24. #24
    Senior Member Bubblegum0077's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome to the wonderful world of quilting!

    You will soon discover that your choice of fabric is as unlimited as you want it to be. Between online shops, local quilt shops and JoAnns the selection is endless. I have been told by professional quilters to use ONLY 100% COTTON FABRIC. Many long arm quilters will not use anything else. However, there are pros and cons to using anything other than 100% cotton. Seams are difficult to stay put and the fabric seems to ravel causing issues with sizing once you cut the pieces. Try different fabrics to see what you prefer. A wall hanging that is made up of blends may be dry cleaned rather than thrown in the washer.

    WalMart has 100% cotton fabric of different weights so stay away from the really thin - see-thru kind because it will not hold up during washing or sewing. You can actually feel how thin some of it is and with all the hard work and long hours you will put into your masterpiece you want it to hold up.

    The best places are the quilt shops. Their advice and experience is as valuable as the fabric they sell. When I took my quilting class at my local quilt shop, the staff helped me find the perfect palate for my blocks. I was happy with the selection and didn't have to drive to Timbuctoo for it. A little on the pricey side, but it balanced out saving on gas.

    Whats even more fun is making a quilt with different style blocks in different colors. This will give you an idea of color, style and difficulty levels to work out.

    Good luck and Happy Quilting

  25. #25
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I find them hard to work with. But if you want to try them you may like them.

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